Why We Love a Weak Jesus
As the Christmas holidays approach, I have been thinking about the two most common images of Jesus in our culture—the baby Jesus lying in a manger and the dead Jesus hanging on a cross—and what they have to do with each other. OK, both represent major holidays, Christmas and Easter, and the images are like bookends of Jesus’ earthly ministry. One could argue that the circumstances of His birth and death are the most astonishing events in Jesus’ life, but is there some other reason these two images persist? I think there is.
What do a new-born baby and a dead man have in common? Among other things, they are both utterly weak. Neither a baby nor a dead man has the power to exert their will over me (I know, parents of newborns may argue about that—been there, done that—but you know what I mean). My fundamental problem as a fallen human, that I want to be a god (cf. Gen. 3:5), necessarily compels me to reject anyone who seeks to impose their will over me, be they God or anyone else. When I choose to frame my understanding of who Jesus is with the images of nativity and crucifixion, then I am inclined to not take seriously obedience to a living Lord.
In birth there is the beginning of a life. After His birth Jesus proceeded to live a sinless life (cf. Heb. 4:14-16) in which He both modeled and legislated what genuine Godliness is. In both His manner of living and His teaching, Jesus demonstrated the extent to which God would seek and redeem fallen mankind. In Jesus Christ, God would resolve the enormous problem of our sinful rejection of Him and, through our faith in this Gospel of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4), provide a [narrow] path back to Him.
In death there is only the ending of life, or so it appears. When humans die their bodies are usually buried; the end, fini. Not so with Jesus! Jesus didn’t stay buried, and this is the heart of the Euangellion, the Gospel, the “Good News.” If the heavens cannot contain Him (cf. 2 Chron. 2:6), neither could death, and Jesus came out of the grave. Jesus conquered death, and that for the express purpose of giving a new life to you and to me—both here and in the hereafter, a life like His (cf. 1 Cor. 15:22).
At Summit we celebrate the Nativity of Jesus, the incarnation of God the Son (cf. John 1:1-14). We will do so formally in our upcoming Christmas Pageant (don’t miss it!). At the same time we lift up the life and teaching of Jesus as God’s revelation of salvation for all of lost mankind. We also celebrate the death Jesus died—the redemption price He paid for our sin—but only as a prelude to His resurrection. The God-Man who is the very Personification of life (cf. John 14:6), is alive, and would give us His life and peace.
There is no more destructive lie than that God incarnate, Jesus the Christ, is weak and has no claim on our lives. An equally destructive lie is that we are strong, and have no need of the God who is there in Christ Jesus. The Gospel states that God the Son took upon Himself flesh (Merry Christmas!), died on the cross, was buried for three days, came out of the grave in resurrection, ascended to God the Father, and is coming back again. The notion that Jesus is weak will vanish at that moment (cf. Rev. 19:11-21).
What about you? Has Jesus only been for you a weak baby in swaddling clothes, or a dead corpse hanging on a cross? At this festive time of the year, I challenge you to rethink who this Jesus is: Living Lord and Loving Savior!
God bless you all,
Dr. Timothy Orton
Summit Classical Christian School
Summit Bulletin Board
- Don’t miss the next Headmaster Coffee on December 13, 9:00-10:00AM in the VCA sanctuary (if possible, bring a sampling of your home-baked Christmas cookies). All are welcome!
- Claire Katzenberger is orchestrating the Summit Christmas Pageant (December 18, 6:30PM, at Church on the Ridge), and she has expressed a need for: 1. four bales of hay; 2. something that would approximate a manger. If you can help please contact her.
- A family with three lovely children living on Snoqualmie Ridge would like to participate in a Summit carpool. If you are interested please contact the Summit office to coordinate.
- The Ortons need a dog-sitter for their Golden-doodle, Oliver. Dr. Orton will be teaching Bible for a study- tour in Israel from December 27—January 11 (and Val gets to go with him—Yay). If you are interested in serving this way please contact Dr. Orton at the school office.
- Recently materials were sent home for the Summit Speech Meet and it’s not too early to help your students begin preparation. FYI, the dates for the Speech Meet are noted on the school calendar, March 24-27, 2014.
- Please mark your calendars for the Summit Uniform Swap on January 9, 2014.